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BEA Goes Pro with Java Workshop

BEA Systems is turning on the charm offensive with developers by offering them a way to lower their software development costs.

The application platform company has unveiled a version of its development suite to let developers write Java or service-oriented applications for its application server, for under $1,000.

Priced at $995, the WebLogic Workshop Professional Edition is geared for developers who want to deploy applications for personal or departmental use on the company's WebLogic application server.

Workshop Professional, the latest version on a scale of developing environments that range from free for a basic version to thousands of dollars for an enterprise edition, lets users write code to craft Web applications, Enterprise Java Beans (EJBs), portals and Web services, all through one clean interface.

But the product builds on the WebLogic Workshop, Free Edition because it includes a commercial deployment license for all platform applications and one year of development support, a spokesperson for the San Jose, Calif., company said.

This, BEA said, also makes it appealing to software vendors and system integrators who want to bundle a limited license version of WebLogic with their products and services. WebLogic Workshop, Professional Edition is for sale now through BEA and resellers. BEA development partners include Compuware and Component Source.

BEA expects such new choices will entice more developers to write new applications for WebLogic. For years the leading application server, WebLogic last year lost ground to IBM's WebSphere application server despite refreshing its WebLogic platform and corresponding products to handle Web services and business processes better.

BEA is moving to leverage its own offerings as the growth of Web services and service-oriented architectures (SOAs) start to alter how enterprises build and use software to power their business and conduct transactions.

Web services and SOAs are being created to make application-to-application communication more intelligent and automated.

BEA Liquid Data is one such promising product for mining and integrating data from different databases. Others include the company's Tuxedo transaction processing software and JRockit Virtual Machine, both of which had makeovers last year to ease the path to services-based computing.

Other vendors who write Java products, including creator Sun Microsystems, IBM and Oracle are also working hard to bring products that employ or support Web services and SOA to market.